Research & Evaluation

Who Decides Forum 2000 Formative Evaluation

Report date: March, 2009



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General Description: 

This study was conducted as a part of the formative evaluation of the NISE Network forum “Nanotechnology: Risks, Benefits, and Who Decides?”

Major Findings: 

The formative evaluation of the “Nanotechnology: Risks, Benefits, and Who Decides?” forum revealed much about the participants’ learning, motivations, and discussions including the following:

    • Most participants came to the forum because they were interested in learning about nanotechnology and its societal impacts.

    • Before the forum, few participants knew about or were interested in the chance to hear others’ viewpoints through a small group discussion.

    • After the forum, many participants reported valuing not only the chance to learn about nanotechnology but also the chance to discuss it with others.

    • Most participants reported learning about not only nanotechnology (including the science and technology behind it, its applications, and its societal impacts) but also about the viewpoints of others from the forum.

    • During the small group discussion, many participants said there are reasons to trust and distrust experts, watchdogs, and the public because of the influence of money and other issues.

    • However, many participants still discussed the need for many interested parties (experts, watchdogs, and the public) to be involved in the policy decision making process, but that the public needs to get more informed about nanotechnology to be included in this process.

Type of product(s) studied: 

  • Forum

Method(s) of data collection: 

  • audio recording
  • interviews
  • observations
  • surveys
  • video recording


Elizabeth Kunz Kollmann
Christine Reich
Anna Lindgren-Streicher

Associated product(s): 



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